2021 Awards & Notables

These awards and notables were included in the 2021 edition of the annual alumni newsletter and reflect accomplishments from approximately October 2020 to October 2021. Please check the main news page for all the latest awards and notables.

Grants, awards, and honors received in the past year

Ray Arvidson, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, and his team were chosen by NASA to continue to archive and distribute digital data related to the study of the surfaces and interiors of terrestrial planetary bodies through the Geosciences Node of NASA’s Planetary Data System (PDS). The five-year renewal agreement has a value to the university projected at $11.8 million.

Jeffrey Catalano, professor, won a three-year, $2.25 million award from the Office of Basic Energy Sciences at the U.S. Department of Energy. The award supports geochemistry research on elements and minerals essential for the production of electric vehicles, cell phones, computers, and a range of other items important to the U.S. economy. Catalano was also elected a fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), and he received a grant from the National Science Foundation for the acquisition of a laboratory-based X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy instrument.

David Fike, professor of Earth and planetary sciences and director of the Environmental Studies program, received a grant from the American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund for a project titled "Petrographically Constrained Microscale Carbonate Carbon and Oxygen Isotope Analyses: Reconstructing Cementation Conditions and Fluid Interactions in Complex Sedimentary Carbonates." Fike also won an early-concept grant for exploratory research (EAGER) from the National Science Foundation for research in geobiology and low-temperature geochemistry.

Anne M. Hofmeister, research professor, won an instrumentation and facilities grant from the National Science Foundation to upgrade an infrared spectrometer, including electronics replacement. Hofmeister also received an early-concept grant for exploratory research (EAGER) from the National Science Foundation to support her work on testing new formulae for pressure derivatives of specific heat, thermal conductivity, and thermal diffusivity.

Bradley Jolliff, Scott Rudolph Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, received a grant from NASA for work on "A Gas Distribution Manifold for the Opening of Vacuum Sealed Apollo 17 Drive Tube Core 73001."

Bronwen Konecky, assistant professor, won two grants from the National Science Foundation for collaborative research projects titled "Investigating Inter-Hemispheric Phasing of Tropical Andean Hydroclimate in Response to Holocene Orbital Forcing" and "Quantitative Reconstructions of Last Millennium Hydroclimate and Temperature from the Tropical High Andes." Konecky also received a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Pilot Fund for a new DEI initiative titled "URG2: Undergraduate Research in the Geosciences for UnderRepresented Groups."

Randy Korotev, research professor emeritus, was selected for the 2022 Service Award of the Meteoritical Society for his outstanding contributions to the classification of lunar meteorites.

Michael J. Krawczynski, assistant professor, won a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for research on the evolution of super-hydrous magmas in the Earth’s crust. In the project, Krawczynski will apply experimental petrology, thermodynamics, and volcanology to explore how volcanoes work, especially how water affects the evolution of volcanoes and their behavior. He also received an NSF grant for a collaborative research project titled "Redox Ratios in Amphiboles as Proxies for Volatile Budgets in Igneous Systems."

Katharina Lodders, research professor, and Bruce Fegley, professor, received a grant from the National Science Foundation for a project titled "Stellar Chemistry: Abundances and Condensation."

Claire Masteller, assistant professor, won a grant from the U.S. Army Research Office’s Early Career Program. The award supports Masteller’s experimental exploration of feedbacks between fluvial bedrock erosion processes and rock damage processes.

William McKinnon, professor, was elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The honor highlights McKinnon’s exceptional contributions in Earth and planetary sciences and recognizes him as a global leader and expert committed to the advancement of the geosciences.

Philip Skemer, professor, won a grant from the National Science Foundation to establish Research Opportunities in Rock Deformation (RORD), an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) internship program that provides laboratory and field-based research experience in rock mechanics and structural geology. RORD is designed to introduce undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and experience levels in Earth science, geoscience, and engineering to the field of rock deformation.

Scott VanBommel, research scientist, received a grant from NASA for a project titled "Constraining Aqueous Processes and the Habitability Potential of Jezero Deposits Through Chemical Deconvolution Geochemical Analyses, Cross-Mission Comparisons, and Spectral Modeling."

Alian Wang, research professor, and her team were selected to develop lunar resource utilization technology under NASA’s first-ever Lunar Surface Technology Research (LuSTR) solicitation. The team is tasked with building a rover-mounted drill sensor to quantify the 3D distribution of water at the Moon’s south pole. A laser probe located at the bottom of the drill, capable of analyzing regolith, will quantify the amount of water and other chemicals present beneath the surface.

Kun Wang, assistant professor, and co-investigator Katharina Lodders, research professor, received a grant from the NASA Emerging Worlds Program for their project "Experimental Studies of Volatile Fractionation in the Early Solar System."

Michael Wysession, professor of Earth and planetary sciences and executive director of Washington University’s Center for Teaching and Learning, won the 2021 Geosciences in the Media Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the world’s largest society of professional geologists. This honor recognizes Wysession’s many achievements in promoting geoscience literacy and education, as well as his notable journalistic contributions to the public understanding of geology and energy resources.